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Strengthening measurement science

In 2015, NPL and the University of Surrey entered a Strategic partnership along with the University of Strathclyde and the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology with the aim of combining expertise and knowledge. The partnership is enabling all parties to strengthen both the excellence of their science and their engagement with business. Over the past few years, the collaboration has focused its efforts on the many of the UK national challenges and is playing a vital role in ensuring the UK’s position as a science superpower. NPL and University of Surrey have collaborated on over 40 PhD projects and NPL is an active participant in several Surrey-hosted centres for doctoral training (CDTs). ​

The NPL and the University of Surrey partnership brings together academia and industry to address key challenges supported by measurement science, including: ​

  • Communication and digital challenges ​
  • Healthcare solutions
  • ​Protecting people and the environment ​ ​

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us​ 

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The partnership will help to boost NPL's and the partners' scientific excellence, will strengthen engagement with business, and will make more of the facilities and the site. An important focus will be to develop activity to support postgraduate research and training at Teddington and across the UK.

David Willets, former Minister for Universities and Science​

In the spotlight

Graeme Reid

Richard Burguete
Postgraduate Institute Director, NPL ​ ​


The longstanding partnership between NPL and the University of Surrey has been key to supporting the development of the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI). It has enabled us to build more projects, studentships, publications and joint appointments. The extent to which both organisations have engaged with industry, and other third parties, has also grown to provide invaluable connections for the development, dissemination, and implementation of our combined research. ​​

By joining forces, we have been able to create, along with our other strategic partner the University of Strathclyde, a vibrant postgraduate research environment that provides a clear path to careers and leadership in areas of science and engineering linked to but outside of academia. Collaborations between NPL and the University of Surrey span a broad range of topics covering advanced telecoms, healthcare and achieving net-zero where the partnership has been instrumental in supplying a pipeline of talented postgraduate researchers.

An injection of talent is needed to fill measurement skills gaps across a host of sectors and what better way to achieve this but supporting over 200 postgraduate researchers supervised by an array of world class scientists in state of the arts facilities.

Max Lu , Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey​

Student research

Ana Andries

Ana Andries

The potential of European observations satellite data to support the sustainable development goals ​

My research is critically analysing and optimising the potential of applying European observation satellite-derived data to support sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators and influence decision making, especially for those indicators covering the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development as monitoring quality education (SDG 4), inequalities (SDG 10) and corruption (SDG16).  ​​​

HadiHadi A. Abba​

Geopolymer-based stabilisers as an alternative to traditional stabilisers for flexible pavement construction​

My research is exploring geopolymer-based stabilisers as an alternative to traditional stabilisers for flexible pavement construction for sub-Saharan developing countries. ​ This work will reduce the cost and support the use of flexible pavement ensuring that roads are more able to withstand heavy and more frequent traffic flows, especially for major roadways and highways

Liz Legge

Liz Legge​

Physicochemical characterisation of graphene based 2D materials for industrial applications ​

Graphene is the strongest known material. However, it wasn’t until 2004 when the isolation of graphene uncovered a new area of research into 2D materials. Graphene research is now looking to transition into industry. For successful commercialisation of graphene, this project aims to improve understanding of the properties of modified graphene for specific applications, and how those modifications will affect the final product.

Research projects

The collaboration between University of Surrey and NPL addresses many of the UK national challenges and projects. Currently case studies include: 

Future communications ​

Building connections through 5G​ - Building greater and more effective connections will help provide security, comfort and assurance through access to critical information and services in an efficient and timely fashion.​

mm-wave beamforming - Developing an advanced mm-wave hybrid beamforming testbed and research capability.​

Ground-breaking research produces record levels of strain in single-crystal silicon​ - This discovery could be crucial to the future development of silicon photonics, which underpins the technologies behind the internet-of-things, and is currently constrained by the lack of cheap, efficient and easily integrated optical emitters.​​

Healthcare solutions

Image guided radiotherapy phantoms - Developing phantoms and related materials to allow audit of the new Unity Magnetic Resonance (MR-LINAC) system developed by Elekta for image guided radiotherapy.  

Enhancing the safety of x-rays and radiation therapy​ - Researchers have identified key design rules for making curved X-ray detectors, bringing clearer and safer X-rays a step closer to reality.​

Protecting people and the environment ​

New fingerprinting technology can detect class A drug use​ - Latest findings show how a single fingerprint left at a crime scene could be used to determine whether someone has touched or ingested class A drugs​.

Solar cells​—A research team has secured almost £3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and key industrial partners to drive innovation in perovskite solar cell design​​.

New research projects

Resilience and security  ​

The work aligns with the needs outlined in Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Data Science. This includes research in understanding the provenance and reliability of data.​

Net zero space ​

To address the net zero ambition within the space industry sector, this work looks to support sustainable and safe use of outer space, such as decarbonisation of space travel and development of new greener solutions. ​

If you are interested in finding out more or supporting any collaboration projects, please contact us

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Digital health

Research into the use data, AI and innovation to improve healthcare in the UK to enable prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of disease.

6G and future communications ​

Focused on confirming requirements for highly accurate timing and synchronisation in future 5G/6G communication networks, this work will ensure a robust, secure, secure and high-performance telecommunication system​.

Collaboration at a glance​

>344 joint publications

8  joint academic appointments

10  active research projects

>20% of the Postgraduate Institute student cohort ​

Dissemination of research

Enhancing and quantifying spatial homogeneity in monolayer WS2​​ 

Controlling the radiative properties of monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides is key to the development of atomically thin optoelectronic devices applicable to a wide range of industries. This paper presents a convenient method to improve the spatial and spectral homogeneity of exfoliated monolayer WS2, by using a simple laser treatment process that can operate at ambient conditions and be easily automated.​

Evaluation of a micro ionization chamber for dosimetric measurements in image-guided preclinical irradiation platforms

This study characterised a small volume ionization chamber in medium energy x-rays for reference dosimetry in preclinical irradiation research platforms. This work contributes toward improving measurement uncertainty evaluation for reference and relative dosimetry of small fields delivered by preclinical irradiators while maintaining the traceability chain to primary standards.

Degradation Diagnostics from the Subsurface of Lithium-Ion Battery Electrodes​ 
Development a Xenon ion plasma focused ion beam (Xe+ PFIB)-based characterisation technique to probe the cross-sectional interface of both ternary cathode and graphite anode electrodes, with the focus on revealing the chemical composition and distribution underneath the electrode surface by in-depth analysis of secondary ions​

Understanding the bonding mechanisms of organic molecules deposited on graphene for biosensing applications​

For graphene to be successful as a biosensing platform, selectivity must be achieved through functionalization with specific chemical groups. However, the device performance and sensor sensitivity must still be maintained after functionalisation, which can be challenging. This work compares phenyl amine and 1,5-diaminonaphthalene functionalization methods for chemical vapuor deposition grown graphene​.


Robert Shearman, Higher Research Scientist at NPL, won the Institute of Physics Early Career Award for outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear physics. Read more

Grigorios Rigas, Principal Process Development Engineer at Dyson, won the Institution of Engineering and Technology Postgraduate Scholarship for outstanding research on printed nanoelectronics Read more​​

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded Dr Yunlong Zhao its prestigious New Investigator Award. Dr Yunlong Zhao is a Senior Research Scientist at NPL and Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey. Read more​​

Natalie Belsey, Senior Research Scientist at NPL and Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey, was awarded a Community for Analytical Measurement Science (CAMS) Fellowship by the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund (ACTF). Read more

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